|The Friendly city?|
When the restrictions during the Covid 19 pandemic were initially lifted to allow outside exercise between 6 and 9 am, I took to the streets of our neighbourhood and our beachfront, enthusiastically joining many other disguised citizens in exercising our new-found freedom.
However, during the ensuing months a nagging concern started dawning on me.
In my enthusiasm (and probably because I think it is the right thing to do), I consistently made a point of greeting everyone I met along the way, but my simple greetings of “good morning” or “goeie more or “molweni” were met by surprisingly few responses in return.
What added to this concern was the experience that very few people, if any, took the initiative of greeting me first.
I do realise that there is a certain awkwardness in one stranger having to greet another stranger in a mask, that some might have missed my greeting because of earphones and that others might have been in conversation with their exercise companions.
Nevertheless, I have been unable to shake the nagging concern that somehow these lockdown regulations seemed to have influenced some of us to become insular and unfriendly.
On the other hand (and fortunately), when I started raising this concern with friends and colleagues some actually reported a different experience in their neighbourhoods, where mutual greetings and kind conversation were the norm, rather than the exception.
Is it just me, or have others had the same experience?
Are some neighbourhoods friendlier than others?
There was a time when ours was known as the friendly city.
The Oxford Dictionary defines friendliness as “the quality of being friendly; affability”. “Affability” is defined as “friendly, good-natured, or easy to talk to.”
The Cambridge Dictionary defines it as “the quality of behaving in a pleasant, kind way towards someone”.
So, what makes one neighbourhood or city friendly or friendlier than another?
Who is responsible for setting and raising the standard of friendliness and kindness in our city?
At the very least we owe it to one another and to the strangers who visit our city but ultimately, we owe it to God who positioned us as citizens in this city together with purpose.
Some may now be asking, so how important is this friendliness thing in light of other pressing needs such as illness, grief, hunger, unemployment and many other dire challenges that many of our fellow citizens are facing daily?
In response I can only echo the words of the prophet Micah who said: “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” (Micah 6:8).
Doing good, exercising justice, loving kindness and walking humbly with God all start at the very least with an attitude of friendliness and respect for others around us.
Is friendliness enough just on its own?
On some occasions it could be. On many other occasions it should however lead to acts of kindness towards those in need.
At the very least, let’s start by making the effort of greeting one another kindly whenever and wherever our paths happen to cross.
In effect, by greeting someone I’m saying, “I see you and you matter”.
You matter to God and you matter to me.
That’s the kind of city I would like to live in. The kind of city I would love to visit.
My daily greetings continue and I have now even gone further by raising a hand to catch attention as part of the greeting.
It’s getting better.
Here’s the point: I might seem like a stranger to you, but think about it.
This mask I’m wearing, I’m actually willingly wearing it for your sake.
Pastor Daan Botha: Harvest Christian Church
The Parish office is open from 9am to 1pm everyday from Monday to Friday.
If you need to drop off anything.
Allan Anderson (076 906 6334) and/or
Debbie Tarbuck (083 454 0479)
Mark Derry (082 473 2195)
via WhatsApp if necessary.
Progress on the Organ Upgrade
In June 2019 I was invited to visit the organ builders workshop where nestled among crates, boxes, tools, old keyboards and many other indiscriminate items were two sets of long wished for organ pipes that were needed to complete sections of the organ at St Johns.
After consultation and approval by the Church Parish Council, work was originally set to begin at the end of 2020. Due to the National Lockdown, much of the organ builders tuning work was put on hold as all churches were closed, but this did allow them to get a head start on the work lined up for us. After some small delays in importing electronics and transporting some items from Pretoria, work has begun. Pipes now occupy the pews and the console has been dismantled. Work should be completed in a few days’ time.
The new pipes will provide three stops. Two stops on the Swell (top keyboard): a Principal 4’ and Fifteenth 2’; and one stop on the Great (lower keyboard): a Mixture IV- which means that 4 pipes will sound for every one note played. These new pipes will provide much needed variety to the Swell division and allow the Swell to better match the Great division. The Mixture stop will provide brilliance to the full organ sound. Along with the new additions some of the electronic system that runs the organ will be upgraded and moved from the console to the organ loft. A few problematic pipes will be receiving some special attention in order to sound at their best once more. The organ of St John’s is 294 pipes richer and boasts a new total of 1031 pipes!
It is six long months since the organ last played for a service. If you would like to hear the organ before we are once again allowed to gather, please listen to this Sunday’s hymn after the sermon.
Please pray for Moheb and Kim. Because of COVID, a lot of people in their area are unemployed – and they have provided work for some of their neighbours on their property. Most of their neighbours do not know Jesus, but they are learning about Him – and one recently gave his life to the Lord. They are also providing food parcels to people in need and counselling to others having a tough time. Please pray for God’s protection, wisdom and guidance for them – as they continue their ministry during COVID, when the need is even greater than normal.
Petro will explain how to install this on your smartphone.
Click here to watch.
Do you have a sewing machine?
Would you like to help to make face masks?
St John’s has partnered with Masks for PE and is encouraging people to make masks to give away in needy areas.
Wearing face masks when out and about is mandatory. Everyone needs at least 2. That’s a lot of masks!
Masks for PE makes it very easy for people to help.
They supply packs with enough pre-cut fabric for 30 masks, thread, fabric ties and instructions.
Finished masks will be packaged along with instructions in English and isiXhosa as to how to wear them safely and how to care for them.
Masks will be distributed at our Fountain Road Soup Kitchen in Ggebera and the Centre of Concern.
Belinda and Mike Jordan will be co-ordinating this project for St John’s.
Contact Belinda on 083 447 3900 if you want to start sewing and to arrange for delivery and collection.
| September’s Prayer points|
Encouragement: Oh, that you would rend the heavens! That you would come down! Isaiah 64: 1
A. Revival and an Awakening:
God has put the desire for Revival on the hearts of many people in NMB, South Africa and beyond! Please will you join us in praying for Revival and a mighty move of God in the world – an Awakening: for the believers that are lukewarm to be ‘set on fire’ for Jesus; for backsliders to return, and for the lost to come to salvation.
Pray fervently for this to happen.
Pray for God to encourage those that are participating in the ’90 Days of Revival Prayer in the World Initiative’. Please feel free to join in this prayer initiative – Inquiries: 084 766 2270 or 078 944 1391.
THE RETURN: Prepare to be included in the World-wide RETURN Revival Prayer –
a time of intense repentance and prayer for Repentance and World Revival.
18 to 29 September 2020 (Jonathan Cahn; Mangaliso Matshobane and Bennie Mostert)
Special Day of Prayer 26 September 2020 – The Return – (2 Chronicles 7: 14)
B. We have just experienced the extremely sad killing of another precious police officer in NMB.
Please will you pray for: God’s blessing and His protection over all the police officers; members of the defence force, the correctional services, and the fire-brigade (Ps.91).
C. All NMB Hospitals and for those in the Medical Field:
Give thanks to God for the answer to our prayers regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.
We want to praise God for the good, positive and reliable recent report that the number of COVID-19 cases in the Livingstone Hospital has declined and staffing issues have been solved.
Continue to pray for all our NMB hospitals to cope with COVID-19 patients and the pressing need of important operations – which have had to wait in line – to be able to take place.
Continue to pray for a reduction in the number of COVID-19 patients in the Bay.
God’s blessing; protection; energy; physical, mental and emotional health; for the doctors, nurses, paramedics, all other staff members, as well as the security guards at the NMB hospitals. (Ps. 91) .
Remember the promise:
… pray to the Lord for the city because if it prospers, you will prosper. Jeremiah 29:7
Please feel free to join in our prayer groups that meet outside of many of our hospitals on Wednesday and Saturday mornings. Inquiries re: times and place to meet: Whatsapp: Joan – 084 766 2270; Shirley – 082 410 7993; Trish – 083 284 4826.
Prayer pointers supplied by NMB: Transformation Christian Network.
More info: www.tcn.org.za
Please contact Andrew 083 546 2451
or Petro 072 663 9774 should you have any questions or require assistance with ZOOM.
Please be aware that the recycling area is currently closed until further notice.